Plattsburgh Manufactured Gas Remediation Project

Plattsburegh Remediation Site

The large white tent along the Saranac River in Plattsburgh is the most obvious part of the remediation project. This article provides some background of the project. 

In the 19th century and well into the 20th, the process of converting coal (and sometimes wood or oil) to a gas enabled the building of pipes for distribution throughout cities which in turn brightened the streets and began revolutions in cooking, lighting, heating, and electricity generation. Unfortunately, the gasification process generated a side product of coal tar which at that time was sometimes used by farmers but more often was just stored in tanks. The gaslight age began to sputter out with the first natural gas well (1821 in Fredonia, New York) which made it possible to extract gas from the ground without the need for a gasification process.

As cities grew and thrived, the old coal tar tanks and dumps remained along with detritus from manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills, and mining sites. After a series of articles and public protests of the hazards of these sites, the US Congress established the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA—Superfund). Four such sites in Plattsburgh were identified. Two of them have been remediated (in 1987 and 1991). The site at the former Air Force Base remains active and is a on the national priority list. The Cumberland Bay Sludge Bed site is currently identified by the big white tent in which the excavated soil is temporarily stored. 

The remediation process has proceeded by closing half the river at a time and diverting the water to the other side of the channel. When the sediment has been removed from one side of the river, the proccess is repeated on the other side. The photos in this article are from the work in 2022. The next phase of the remediation will work on the sediment in Lake Champlain at the mouth of the Saranac River.

Friends of Saranac River Trail is planning a guided walk through the remediation site early in Spring 2023. Visit for dates when they announced. If you wish to be notified, send email to; for further information, contact Jesse Feiler at

For further information see the NY DEC site at


Thanks to Michael Flynn at Parsons for photos

Exploring Saranac River Trail

Here are some of the routes and places you might like to explore along Saranac River Trail. The Trail clearly has an end as the river empties into Lake Champlain at Peace Point Park, but the beginning is the three dozen tributaries of the Upper Saranac River. Along the way, there are a number of places providing direct access to parts of the Trail in the City of Plattsburgh. They are described in this section.


You'll also find a route you can follow that let you walk, cycle, run, or blade theTrail. With the exception of the intersection of Catherine Street and Steltzer/Pine Street, this route route has no cars. This ia the route from the campus/Platssburgh High school to downtown (BroadStreet Parking Lot at One Bridge Street. 

  • Start at Plattsburgh High School at Ruger Street and George Angell Drive.
  • Go to the end of George Angell Drive. If you are driving, there is parking available at the end of Grorge Angell Drive by the Webb Island bridge.
  • At the end of  George Angell Drive you'll see a  sign display of Saranac River Trail. That is a trailhead of the Trail. Walk, run, bike, or blade along the Trail. You'll find several benches along the way. See the other items on this website for more details.
  • Follow the Trail past the College past Memorial Hall (the largest building along theTrail at this point) the Trail goes up the hill to Steltzer Road. 
  • At the top of the hill turn right on Steltzer to the traffic light at Catherine and Steltzer. (Note that this segment from the top of the hill is the only part of the route that shares with cars (only about half a block).
  • Proceed across the intersection to Pine Street (a continuation of Steltzer Road).
  • Keep going along Pine Street past Stewart's and follow the gentle slope down to the main Trail and the river. 
  • Proceed along Pine Street to the Max Moore Tree House.
  • Cross the river on the Saranac Street Bridge.
  • At the end of the bridge, turn left onto the Durkee Street Bridge.
  • Follow the Trail along the river to the Broad Street Parking Lot (Downtown).


State of Saranac River

SUNY  Hudson Hall Lecture Room 101. Open to the public.

Friday, October 28, 2022 - 3:30pm to 6:30pm

National Trails Day 2023

Saranac RIver Trail celebrates National Trails Day.

Stay in touch at and volunteer at


Saturday, June 3, 2023 - 10:00am

Saranac River Trail Fun Run/Walk

President of Friends of Saranac River Trail Jesse Feiler announced, “After many years of planning, development, and construction, it’s great to now to be celebrating 10 years of the Trail.”

Be Part of Saranac River Trail

You can be part of the project! If you would like to volunteer, let us know by sending an email to We can use people to help with our walks and treks (getting sign ins) as well as people  to spread the word about the Trail and events. If you are interested in leading a walk or trek, contact us. If you have knowledge or interest in the Trail, let us know. Our events normally are an hour long. 

Saranac River Trail and Greenway: Moving Forward with New Detail Documents

New documents with lots of maps and details! Exciting things are happening in the world of Saranac River Trail. Details about Phase 2 of Saranac River Trail and Blue Trails extension of Saranac River Trail Greenway. Even more exciting, funding for Phase 3 of Saranac River Trail has been approved (see separate article), so we'll have even more Saranac River Trail!

Final Design Report for Phase 2 of Saranac River Trail

Connect Plattsburgh City Hall/ MacDonough Park, NYSEG Site and Stafford Middle School to the existing Saranac River Trail (SRT) and surrounding trail systems via new multi-use paths and improving on-street pedestrian and bicycle accommodations as outlined by the City of Plattsburgh in their August 15, 2013 Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) application.

Download Document Here

Saranac River Trail Greenway -- Blue Trails Extension: Conditions Report

The trail will extend from the current westward terminus at George Angell Drive in the City of Plattsburgh to a point approximately 2.15 miles to the west at Reeves Lane in the Town of Plattsburgh. This section of the trail is ready for advancement since it will be constructed on public sector property, extending through the Plattsburgh City School District High School property, the SUNY Plattsburgh Field House and sports complex and westward across City of Plattsburgh property to Reeves Lane. With the views of the river and especially the imperial dam, there is a desire to keep the trail near river.

Clinton County (County) has received Regional Waterfront Program Key Project funds to design the next segment of the Saranac River Trail Greenway in the City and Town of Plattsburgh.This project is supported by funding from the Environmental Protection Fund through the New York State Department of State (DOS) Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. 

Invasive Species along the Saranac River Trail

Zachary Simek from Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program showing spotted knapweed (an invasive species) to the Nature Trek for Friends of Saranac River Trail on August 15, 2015.

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